Kirknewton from Yeavering Bell
Kirknewton shown within Northumberland
|Population||108 (2001 census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||NE71 6|
|Dialling code||01688 2|
|EU Parliament||North East England|
Kirknewton is a Northumbrian village to the north of the county of Northumberland, about 6 miles (10 km) from the town of Wooler and roughly the same distance to the Scottish Borders. The village lies in the valley of Glendale, which takes its name from the River Glen, whose source at the confluence of the Bowmont Water and the College Burn lies at the west end of the village.
The parish of Kirknewton is one of the geographically largest in the United Kingdom, but one of the smallest in terms of poulation, with a count of 108 residents (56 female, 52 male) in the 2001 UK Census. Most residents live in the villages of Kirknewton, Westnewton and Hethpool, with the remainder scattered in remote farms and steadings, many of which are now holiday properties.
Employment in Kirknewton is mainly based around agriculture, although following decline in this industry, most residents either work in the local towns of Wooler or Berwick-upon-Tweed or are retired. The area has a reasonable tourist industry due to the Northumberland National Park which borders the village, and the area's outstanding natural beauty.
The village of Kirknewton used to be a station on the Alnwick to Cornhill railway, run by LNER. This branchline carried passengers and goods until the 50's, when it became uneconomical to run due to dwindling passenger numbers, a competing bus service, and a number of storms which had destroyed parts of the line. The station itself and the station master's house still stand and are used as private residences.
Kirknewton School originally stood near the church and catered for 4-11 year old boys and girls. Opened in the late 19th century, the school was supported by the church. The original building became the village hall when it was vacated for a new school next door, in the early 1970s. The new school operated as a Church of England Aided Primary School for 4-11 year olds until 1981, after which - in the county of Northumberland's shift to a three-tier education system - it became a 'First' School, for 4-9 year olds, causing a sudden and dramatic fall in pupil numbers. The old school was eventually knocked down and replaced with a new hall in 2001. The school, sadly, did not survive much longer. Despite fierce campaigning over the years by parents, the school eventually closed in 2004, with the 4 remaining pupils going to nearby Ford First School. The school building still serves young people as an outdoor centre for the Girl Guides.
The church of St Gregory the Great is situated in the middle of the village. Parts of the church date back to Norman times, and it is famous for a carving of the Adoration of the Magi. The carving, on the wall of one of the oldest parts of the church, depicts the Magi in kilts! However, Christianity has been worshipped here long before this. In the 5th Century, Saint Paulinus baptised Anglo-Saxon King Edwin of Northumbria and many of his followers in the River Glen at Gefrin, nearby. A monument, known as the Gefrin Stone is erected at this location. The churchyard of St Gregory is also the final resting place of Josephine Butler, a well known Victorian social reformer.
One of Northumberland's most notable daughters, Josephine Grey, the social reformer, was born at Milfield House, about six miles from Wooler. This woman, who did so much valuable work in the nineteenth century to combat the social evils of the day, is more generally known by her married name of Butler. At the end of her long life she returned to her beloved Northumberland and is buried in Kirknewton churchyard under the shadow of Yeavering Bell.
Ann Katharine Swynford Lambton PhD FBA OBE (8 February 1912 – 19 July 2008), usually known as A.K.S. Lambton and locally as Nancy Lambton, was a British historian and leading figure on medieval and early modern Persian history, Persian language, Islamic political theory, and Persian social organisation. She was an acknowledged authority on land tenure and reform in Iran, Seljuq, Mongol, Safavid and Qajar administration and institutions, and local and tribal histories. Prof. Lambton was a lay reader and took services at the church of St Gregory the Great, Kirknewton and others in the Glendale Group.
- Office for National Statistics: Neighbourhood Statistics
- Ridley, Nancy (1966). Portrait of Northumberland. London: Robert Hale.
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